Hape is known as the largest producer of wooden toys in the world. They source their wood from sustainable forests, and they use other environment-friendly and non-toxic materials like bamboo and organic ink.
Where does Hape make their toys exactly? Are Hape toys safe and non-toxic? Are they made in the USA?
After extensive research and toy reviews, we wrote this article to answer all your questions and more!
Where Are Hape Toys Manufactured?
Most Hape toys are made in China, but they also have factories in other countries like Latvia and Romania.
Despite being manufactured in China, Hape sources sustainable materials worldwide, including Russia, Belgium, and Germany.
Since most Hape toys are made in China, does that mean they’re unsafe?
Hape has received a lot of criticism, mainly because of its Chinese manufacturing background. China’s safety and quality standards aren’t as strict compared to Europe and the US.
However, the founder and CEO of Hape, Peter Handstein, expressed how the safety and quality of products are the company’s responsibility, not the country’s.
(Fun fact: Peter Handstein was actually a former toy salesman before he decided to start his own toy business.)
He makes a fair point, so let’s take a look at their factories and dive deep into how these toy manufacturers operate.
A bulk of Hape toys are manufactured in China inside their factory in Ningbo. This factory produces more than 120,000 Hape toys every month.
If we do the math, that sums up to around 1.4 million Hape toys every year from just one factory!
This factory mainly produces wooden and bamboo non-toxic Hape toys.
There’s also another Chinese warehouse in Lishui that manufactures a smaller quantity of wooden toys.
Hape also has a factory in Jelgava, Latvia, where they mainly produce soft Hape toys. They also produce handicrafts and small textile items here.
Hape has been operating this factory for toy manufacturing since 2013.
This is the smallest Hape factory, and they only have around 60 employees that oversee toy production.
This Romanian factory produces plush Hape toys and wooden Hape toys. However, their main focus is to produce wooden blocks. They pump out around 25,000 wooden block sets every month!
The wood they use comes from an eco-forest in Russia, and they also use organic ink from Germany.
This factory is more of where the assembly line takes place. Employees just follow the toy designs from headquarters, assemble the product, and do some quality control.
What Are Hape Toys Made Of?
Hape uses different materials for their wooden toys, but they’re popular for using sustainable, non-toxic, and child-safe substances like wood, bamboo, organic ink, and child-safe paints.
They also have some toy components made of plastic, but overall, Hape uses safe and eco-friendly substances that won’t harm your child!
Hape uses wood for most of their toys. They also use different wood sources like birch, maple, beech, and rubberwood.
They source their wood from sustainable forests worldwide, although most are sourced from Europe, Russia, and China.
Bamboo is a great eco-friendly and non-toxic material to use. It grows fast, has natural antibacterial properties, and feels wonderful to the touch!
Hape released a full line of bamboo toys back in 2005, and they’ve been using it ever since.
They have their own bamboo forest in China, and it’s also fairly easy to sustain since bamboo grows pretty quickly.
Most toy companies produce plastic toys, which are probably the most popular for kids worldwide.
However, Hape strays away from using plastic as much as possible because it isn’t the safest and most sustainable option. They only create toys made from sustainable materials.
Producing tons of plastic items can also make a negative impact on the environment in the long run.
Hape only has few items that use plastic, and only some parts of these Hape toys have plastic components.
If ever Hape does use plastic, they make sure to only use non-toxic, recycled, and BPA-free plastic for them.
Hape uses fasal for some components of their toys, like the coins that come with their Hape cash register. Fasal is a composite that’s made from non-toxic glue and recycled sawdust so it’s perfect for the cash register toy.
It’s lightweight, biodegradable, and made from renewable sources! With it, your child can enjoy playing as a cashier with a cash register toy.
Hape toys are applied with different finishes that make them smoother, more durable, and better-looking. A good example of toy with a fine finish is the cash register toy, which we already mentioned earlier.
Hape either uses organic inks or water-based paints and varnishes. The lacquer they use is sourced from Belgium, and the water-based colors are sourced from Germany.
Water-based paint is an environmentally responsible paint option that retains colors well. It also produces fewer odors than other paint alternatives. Water-based paint is a wooden toy’s best friend!
All these finishes are safe for children, so don’t worry about formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) harming your child!
Are Hape Toys Safe?
Like what we mentioned earlier, Hape toys receive a lot of criticism because most of them are manufactured in China.
Naturally, this makes a lot of parents worried about the quality of Hape toys and the safety of their kids.
After extensive research and toy reviews, we’re confident to say that Hape toys are safe and come from a reliable company.
Hape toys are made from sustainable materials, and they have a bunch of safety and quality certifications to back them up.
According to their website, they have certifications from:
- ISO 14001
- ISO 9001
We’ll discuss some of these certifications in the next section, and we’ll also go into detail on how the Hape company oversees its non-toxic toy production and quality control.
How Does Hape Make Their Toys Safe?
Hape became one of the first toy manufacturers in China to receive an ISO 9001 certification.
This means that the Hape brand is recognized as a company that consistently provides quality products and services that meet both customer and regulatory requirements.
Hape takes their quality checking seriously, and they ensure that each toy they produce is in proper condition before shipping them out to stores!
Hape tests their bamboo toys and ideas before shipping them out to retailers. They test them during the early stages of the toy, and there are times when they test them again 1-2 years later.
They make sure they produce products that are free of defects and faulty parts!
Before a toy can go up on shelves inside stores, they have to undergo heavy metal testing by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Hape toys aren’t an exception, so this brand includes this testing requirement for their toy manufacturing process.
As if their brand wasn’t reliable enough, Hape takes an extra step to be one of the most reliable brands worldwide.
They work with the independent group SGS to inspect, test, certify, and verify their products to be safe and comply with global standards and regulations.
SGS is a world-leading inspection group that covers the entire supply chain from raw materials to the final product.
If Hape passes their tests, that should be a good sign that this company is something you can count on!
Sources of Materials
Like what we mentioned previously, Hape sources its materials from around the globe. Bamboo forests in China, solid wood from eco-forests in Europe, to name a few.
They also use the safest finishes and paints possible. You don’t have to worry about toxic substances lingering and harming your child.
Are Hape Toys Non-Toxic?
Hape doesn’t explicitly refer to any of their toys as a “non-toxic toy.”
Although based on their certifications, stringent manufacturing processes, and sustainable sources, it’s safe to conclude that their toys are non-toxic and safe for children.
Is there a toy that’s 100% non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals? Probably not. This is probably why Hape never markets their toys as non-toxic.
Are Hape Toys Montessori?
For those unfamiliar with Montessori, it’s a unique educational approach that aims to thoughtfully foster the growth and development of children.
Montessori toys are designed in a specific way to achieve this goal and expose children to learn about the world!
For a toy to be considered a Montessori toy, it must have these four characteristics:
- Simple – Monti toys are supposed to be simple. Simple toys are the best for infants because it helps them make sense of their environment for the first time
- Based on Reality – Monti toys should give children a preview of the real world. No unnecessary features and sounds, but straightforward functions that show how reality is like
- Made of Natural Material – Monti toys should be made of a natural material because it gives babies more information about their surroundings than a plastic one
- Functional and Constructive – Monti toys should give babies the freedom to explore, decide, and interact with toys to arrive at a specific result
Basically, all Montessori toys have to be appropriate for child-learning.
Not all Hape toys are Montessori, but a few of them could pass as a Montessori toy.
These are some Hape toys that can be considered as Montessori:
- Hape Double-Sided Drum
- Hape Counting Stacker Toddler Wooden Stacking Block Set
- Hape Shape Sorting Box
Any of these items are sure to make an impact on your child’s growth and development during play-time at home!
What Toys Are Made in the USA?
Does Hape make any toys in the USA? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Hape primarily operates in Europe and China.
Although, access to these toys isn’t difficult because Hape has their own Amazon page where you can check out their toys for different age groups. Shipping shouldn’t be a big problem either!
If you’re wondering which toy brands are made in the USA, some examples are Green Toys, Uncle Goose, and Bear for Humanity.
If you’re looking for a variety of options, you can check out our guide on the best non-toxic baby toys.
Should I Choose Hape Over Other Toy Brands?
There are hundreds of other toy companies in the USA alone, so it can be difficult to find the perfect one for your child.
Before making a decision, you should ask yourself these questions first:
Will I Use a Montessori Approach?
If your answer is yes, then going for Hape wouldn’t be a bad idea. Just make sure you pick a product that has the Montessori qualities we listed above.
Does My Baby Have Sensitive Skin?
If your baby has sensitive skin, it would be best to go for materials that are natural and non-toxic. Especially for bath toys
Hape checks this box, so there’s no problem there.
Is My Baby Still an Infant or Already a Toddler?
We recommend going for Hape if you still have a newborn or infant. However, if your baby is already a toddler, they might be interested in other stuff like cartoon figures, dolls, and more mainstream items.
Hape is a reliable brand that follows the strictest global standards and regulations.
Whether the Hape toys come from Europe or China, one thing you can be sure of is that they’re a company you can count on for the best interest of your child. Their wooden and bamboo toys will surely keep your kids busy and entertained.
July 23, 2021 – updated article links